JOPLIN, Mo. — Wednesday was National Overdose Awareness Day. According to the CDC, between April of 2020 and 2021, there were over 100,000 overdose deaths in the United States.
On Wednesday evening, the Jasper County Court staff held an Awareness walk and a candle light vigil in Joplin. The shared goal is to remember those who’ve lost their lives due to an overdose and those who have survived an overdose and are working through recovery.
“It shows how our community is growing in recovery, and that’s huge for our community. I mean, it doesn’t just help our courts, it doesn’t just help our clients, it helps the community as a whole,” said Tina Rose, Case Manager, Jasper County Courts.
More than 50 people participated in the walk and vigil. Following the ceremony, the floor was open to those who wanted to share their advice for helping loved ones in active addiction.
“It’s a matter of talking, just a simple conversation. As an addict, I know that no one is going to get help unless they’re at that point. And you can’t just say rock bottom is this, because rock bottom is different for everybody. For some people, it’s overdosing. And some people, it’s overdosing 20 times. You can let people know that you are there for them when they, here are the resources when you are ready, but you can’t make someone go,” said Chris Dhar, Client, Drug Court.
Many in attendance spoke on the stigmas often associated with drug addiction and overdose.
“I have been to multiple treatment centers, and it really opened my eyes. I was in there with lawyers, doctors, school teachers, police officers, and also the homeless and the ones that were, you know, on the lower end of the spectrum, but it does not discriminate,” added Dhar.